Exercise, exercise…

Getting More Exercise

It started as many Saturdays, when I feel that others are out there seeking fun, while I seem to have lost any taste for doing things. Breakfast then coffee then maybe lunch, wondering why I don’t really want to go down to the sewing studio (my current project isn’t too exciting, a bit challenging as it’s an improvised modification of a pattern). But also, it’s the feeling after talking to people, trying to express vague emotional ideas and listening to how the real world might structure them into its structure. It’s as if you told me, well do you want to give up the security of a structured society, or try your fancy ideas to soon realize that they will encounter the chaos of unstructured people? This will be an endless discussion (in my head too), but as a matter of fact it is a bit of the source of this feeling that the day isn’t worth facing.

After walking to the bookstore and not finding anything exciting (after two reads that were: Detransition Baby, and Victories Greater than Death), I proceeded to look for DVDs at the library. On my way back, I determined to go for a hike, knowing that in my experience, exercise is my best anti-depressant.

To make things better, I put on my running clothes, which give me better self-esteem in my feminine looks! As I walked outside in my colorful tank top over a sports bra, I congratulated myself because I was feeling I was a woman. In a sense I had already raised my self-esteem for the day.

My itinerary was to reach Tilden Park, about 3 miles each way, and uphill. I would have caught the bus in order to exclusively walk on trails, but there was no bus (I think because we’re still on COVID bus schedules). It was good, the streets in the Berkeley hills are great. Google Maps even sent me on stairs I didn’t know existed. It was hard, actually, but at my level of running, doing hills makes me stronger (I don’t work out on machines, so I have to find alternatives like running hills!). There were steep parts that can be hard on the knees, but I have learned to manage my descent in a way that may feel counterintuitive: find ways to flex at the hip, extend the gait, not putting the brakes on the knee muscles.

I encountered so many mosquitoes on that trail that I had to do a windshield wiper motion with both arms for quite a while! They must have been flies, because I don’t seem to have been bitten…

On the way back I seriously did the speed walker moves with hips and arms, which seem to have saved my knees. I want to pay a lot more attention to potential obstacles on the pavement and sidewalks, because I find it’s very easy to trip, and I really hate that (it hurts!). It’s too bad as the views of San Francisco Bay are so beautiful.

As it happens so often, people leave things on the sidewalk for others to take, and I check them out for potential treasures. Nothing struck my fancy until I found a pair of pink 2lbs weights… I had just thought, on my way up, how my runner’s anatomy book suggested some weight lifting for the upper body, and how I neglected that. So I took the weights and finished the last mile or so with them. The hot pink color matched the pink-and-blue of my tank top, it felt great!

I don’t know how I could still climb the stairs (double step stride) to my fourth floor apartment, but it was obvious that I should stretch and massage my legs (I use a foam roller) to prevent cramping later in the evening. While washing the (now new-looking) pink weights in the bathroom sink, I was startled by my woman self in the mirror. That was a new feeling I want to keep.

I write this on Sunday morning, after going for my usual run… Almost unbelievable to me, but I used the excuse that I run back via the grocery store to buy the paper Sunday paper, and a croissant that will accompany my coffee after breakfast. Now I can proceed with the day, go to the sewing studio and finish that project.

I imagined I would write this blog entry as a coaching advice (e.g. start easy, make it a habit, manage your knees, make it a challenge, a meditation), but I really don’t think I want to tell people what to do. Motivation has to come from you, and my best advice is to learn to listen to your body and seek an understanding of how it works (look at runner’s anatomy books, but also learn about trigger points and massage, and stretch). Exercise and diet and cut the alcohol… It seems obvious now, but there’s nothing in my mind that will have a greater effect on body and mind…

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